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House Nixes TANF Drug Tests, Seven-Month Extra Penny Sales Tax, and More!

Last updated on 2011.02.09

The South Dakota Legislature killed all sorts of bills yesterday. Among the big No's:

The full House killed HB 1152, which would have required drug testing for TANF recipients. Rep. Steve Hickey (R-9/Sioux Falls) gave a pretty good speech on why he was voting for the bill, but the majority was not with him. I think legislators were just nervous that someone would move to amend to include mandatory drug-testing for legislators.

Pinch that penny: House State Affairs beat back HB 1222, which would have tacked an extra penny on the sales tax for seven months to fund education. Governor Daugaard is winning his game of budget chicken: the Legislature seems to lack the political will to pass any significant tax increase.

House State Affairs killed one of Rep. Lora Hubbel's (R-11/Sioux Falls) monstrosities, HB 1166, which would have created a rinky-dink system of oversight and appeal to hinder the creation of conservation easements. Hooray for individual property rights over Hubbel's anti-green nanny-statism!

House Judiciary killed the similarly worded and even more restrictive HB 1195, which would have subjected any conservation easement to county review. Prime sponsor Rep. Lance Russell (R-30/Hot Springs) had the good sense to amend the bill to remove the Legislature from the appeals process and send appeals to circuit court, where they belong. Rep. Russell also added language allowing counties to establish a maximum percentage of land that can be placed in easements. But finally Judiciary had enough and sent HB 1195 to the 41st day. Only Reps. Don Kopp and Stace Nelson voted with Russell for the bill---and Stace! Come on! I thought you were all about individual property rights!

House Education killed HB 1170, which would have required all public and non-public schools to teach the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, substantive selections from the Federalist Papers, and President George Washington's farewell address. I guess they're serious about not imposing any history standards. Expect the committee to nuke HB 1211, which directs the Department of Education to develop curriculum on the history of organized labor and collective bargaining.

Rep. Manny Steele (R-12/Sioux Falls) got nowhere with his effort to do Orly Taitz's bidding. Steele's HB 1199 was an attempt to subvert the Fourteenth Amendment. House Judiciary wisely said no... but Steele still won enough votes to make me queasy.

Update 2011.02.09 07:07: The Arizona Legislature has rejected bills similar to Rep. Steele's insult to the Constitution. And in related news, former President George W. Bush (yes, the younger, the worse) thinks we're going through an unhealthy surge of nativism:

"My point is, we've been through this kind of period of isolationism, protectionism, nativism," he said. "I'm a little concerned that we may be going through the same period. I hope that these "isms" pass," he said, adding that it would allow the U.S. a more orderly look at immigration policy.

Bush said growing up in Texas gave him the opportunity to interact with different cultures.

"We ought to welcome people from different cultures to America," he said [David Taintor, "Bush Warns U.S. Is Becoming 'Nativist,'" Talking Points Memo, 2011.02.07].

As one blogger notes, when W. starts making sense, you know the fringe is going too far.